Comedian Roy Wood, Jr. made a strong case for ditching meat during a skit on a recent episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. During the segment, Wood meets with author Michael Pollan who discusses the damaging effects of methane emissions from meat production on the environment and encourages Wood, an avowed meat-eater, to explore plant-based burgers and cell-based meat as less destructive alternatives.
Wood visits plant-based meat company Impossible Foods in Redwood City, CA where CEO Pat Brown explains that the molecule responsible for meat’s distinct flavor is “heme”—a key component in the Impossible Burger. “So it’s not the marinade. It’s not gas over charcoal. It’s some sh*t called ‘heme,’ this whole time,” Wood jokes. “You’re telling me my whole life has been a lie.” The comedian then samples an Impossible Burger alongside its beef counterpart and is impressed by how similar the two are in flavor. After sarcastically calling the Impossible Burger “the devil,” Wood storms out in search of “real meat that does not ‘fart up’ the environment.”
Wood then visits food technology startup JUST where CEO Josh Tetrick explains that his company is removing the need to slaughter animals for food by producing real animal meat from a small sample of cells in a bioreactor. Since JUST has not yet created a public prototype of cell-based beef, Tetrick offers Wood the company’s cell-based chicken nugget, which currently costs $50 each. Upon sampling the nugget, Wood takes out his wallet to order a three-piece meal, which he is denied as JUST is still scaling production. According to Andrew Noyes, Head of Global Communications at JUST, Wood also ate an entire cell-based chicken sandwich but the footage did not make it on the air. “It was a real treat having Roy at HQ,” Noyes told VegNews. “Despite his on-camera comedic riffs, he cares very much about the food system and was eager to learn more about what we do at JUST to make products that are better for us and better for the planet.”